* Implement metrics to track progress. Finally, as with most initiatives, it's important to have measurement techniques in place so you can monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. A best practice from the Corporate Executive Board in terms of innovation metrics is to measure three key areas of your innovation pipeline: pipeline productivity (the flow rate of ideas coming into and moving through the pipeline), pipeline health (investment and spending metrics to show amount of spending on innovation-related initiatives) and business outcome (quality metrics such as customer satisfaction and revenue from commercialized ideas).
With enterprise social computing platforms becoming more and more pervasive, and with increasing employee acceptance and adoption of social collaboration, now may be an excellent time to reassess your approach to idea management. You can think of today's climate as a social tailwind that will help you optimize your environment for harnessing the collective insights of your many constituents -- whether they're internal or external to your organization.
Finally, in terms of developing and scaling these ideas, it all comes down to budget. The aforementioned innovation program needs to help clearly define where funds come from, who owns the funds and how they are allocated across strategic investments.
Nicholas D. Evans leads the Strategic Innovation Program for Unisys and was one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2009. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.